The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Sovereign of the Seas (Schooner), aground, 10 Nov 1853

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SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS Schooner, cargo iron and merchandise, wrecked on Skillagalee Island, Lake Michigan. Property loss $14,000
      Buffalo Express
      Jan. 2, 1854 (casualty list)


The propeller EDITH, which arrived here from Buffalo Saturday morning, says the Milwaukee Sentinel, reports the new and fine schooner SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS ashore on Skilligalee Reef, near the Beaver Islands on this lake, with seven feet water in her hold and no prospect of getting off. The SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS was owned by Tifft & Bull, of Racine, and insured for $3,000 in the National Protection Co., Saratoga Co., N. Y., and $3,000 in the Chicago Mutual. She had on board 75 tons groceries for J. Furlong, of Milwaukee, 100 tons pig iron and 60 tons of coal for Head, Campbell & Head, Kenosha; 5 pkgs. maze for A.D. Seaman, of Milwaukee, and a few packages for Farwell & Bros., Jamesville. The iron and coal were insured in the Sun Mutual, N. Y., and Mr. Furlong's goods in the Merchants Mutual of Milwaukee. The Captain writes that he will be able to save part of the cargo. One of the owners was in Milwaukee on Saturday, looking for a vessel to go to the relief of the SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS. The reef on which she lies has proven the grave of many a fine vessel.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Wednesday, November 23, 1853

      . . . . .

      Telegraphic News by Speed's Line:--
      The Herald has a special telegraphic announcement under date, Milwaukie, Nov. 19: The loss of a lake clipper, The SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS is wrecked on Skillagalee Rocks. Vessel and cargo reported a total loss. She was bound up with a heavy load of freight.
      Cleveland Daily Forest City Democrat
      Thursday, November 24, 1853

      . . . . .

THE SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS. - The Milwaukee Sentinel says that a good share of the cargo of this vessel has been saved, and much of it comparatively uninjured but the vessel itself will probably prove a total loss.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Saturday, December 3, 1853

      . . . . .

The propeller WESTMORELAND, Capt. Ball, which came in Saturday, says the Milwaukee Sentinel, brought the standing and running rigging, anchors, chains, &c., and a small portion of the cargo of the SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS, wrecked on Skilligalee, and also her captain, mates and crew. The vessel has gone to pieces and but little of the cargo was saved.
      Buffalo Daily Republic
      Thursday, December 8, 1853

Bark MONTMORENCY, 298 tons. Built Clayton 1853 by S.G. Johnson. Owned by Merrick & Co. Home port, Detroit. Valued at $15,000 Class A 2. REMARKS:-- Rebuilt in 1866 from bottom of SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS.
      1873 Board of Lake Underwriters

Bark SOVEREIGN OF THE LAKES, 366 tons, Built Clayton 1853 by John Oades. Owned by Fowler & Esseltyne. Home port, Clayton. Value $8,000 Class A2.
      !861 Board of Lake Underwriters

[NOTE :- SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS built at Racine in August of 1853 has become mixed-up with the SOVEREIGN OF THE LAKES, built at Clayton also in 1853, but later rebuilt as MONTMORENCY. Was the Sovereign of the Seas actually rebuilt into Soverign of the Lakes or was she totally lost on Skilliglee in 1853 ? There seems little doubt that the SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS was a total loss at Skilligalee Reef in 1853. The SOVEREIGN OF THE LAKES was a different vessel entirely.]

Media Type:
Item Type:
Reason: aground
Lives: nil
Freight: merchandise & ?
Remarks: Total loss
Date of Original:
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 45.6764 Longitude: -85.17312
William R. McNeil
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Sovereign of the Seas (Schooner), aground, 10 Nov 1853